Special Medicare payment update: President signs extension of physician payment freeze

Late last night, the president signed H.R. 4691, the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 into law. This legislation includes a provision that freezes Medicare physician payments at their current level until March 31, 2010. The legislation also extends the therapy cap exception process through until March 31, 2010.  The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 78 – 19.  The House of Representatives had unanimously approved a companion bill by voice vote on Feb. 25. 

The Senate is also currently debating H.R. 4213 the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010. This legislation extends the freeze on Medicare physician payments until Sept. 30, 2010. It also provides an extension to the therapy cap exception process through Dec. 31 , 2010 and an extension of the geographic practice cost index floor through Dec. 31, 2010.  If approved by the Senate, the bill would have to be approved by the House before transmittal to the president. 

MGMA does not support these continued short-term congressional interventions and urges members to contact their senators and representatives to support permanent repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula.